SPACE CRUISER YAMATO
(Uchu Senkan Yamato)
The film is poorly animated the turning of spaceships is conducted in jerky movements, all the faces assembled in a hall are static and characterisation is almost zero. It is also amusing to notice that being the 1970s all the characters wear flares and when this is combined with Japanese animations tendency to draw people as three-quarters legs, characters end up as bizarrely elongated wedge shapes. Despite this, Space Cruiser Yamato has a wonderfully colourful appeal and an immense vigour to it that keeps its episodic plot going. It had the canny coincidence of being released in the West three months after Star Wars (1977) came out and obtained some success from the huge interest in space opera.
As with almost all Japanese films, there is an underlying symbolism that makes the film interesting. Since the early 1970s, pollution has become a major feature of Japanese fantasy cinema the people of Earth are deliberately shown as a pitiful and frail mass, huddled beneath the surface. Very clearly, the film finds heroic nobility in the tiny pitiful space cruiser facing enormous odds and undergoing an extraordinarily brutal, almost masochistic, battering and hammering to the point of near-destruction at the hands of the enemy before emerging triumphant. Indeed, it is the inanimate Yamato itself that ones sympathies are torn to rather than the faceless post-adolescents that comprise its crew. The other interesting piece of symbolic play is that of the Yamato itself, which is rebuilt Phoenix-like from the wreck of a real-life Japanese battlecruiser that was sunk by the Allies during World War II an image that clearly reflects a debatably misguided desire on the part of the Japanese to find a nationalistic pride in fallen military glories.
There were several sequels: the theatrically released Arriverderci Yamato/Farewell, Space Battleship Yamato (1978), Be Forever Yamato (1980) and Final Yamato (1983), the tv movie Yamato: The New Voyage (1979) and a later theatrical revival with Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection (2009) and the live action Space Battleship Yamato (2010). The animated series was also revived for two further seasons between 1978 and 1981.
Film online in several parts beginning here:-